WASHINGTON – The United States Senate unanimously agreed to extend the Small Business Administration (SBA) and vital programs that fall under the Small Business Administration Act and the Small Business Investment Act, such as the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. The programs, which have been operating under a temporary extender and were set to expire on April 30, 2010, will continue with a three-month extension through July 31, 2010. The bill now heads to the House for approval. United States Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship made the following comment on the passage of the extension:

“The extension of these programs that fall under the Small Business Administration, such as the SBIR and STTR, will allow the nation’s innovators and entrepreneurs to continue their work as we continue negotiations with the House for a longer, more comprehensive agreement. Over the next three months, I encourage the entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers looking for jobs, or waiting for a chance to explore a promising and innovative idea, to apply for research projects through these programs. SBIR and STTR entrepreneurs start businesses, create jobs and account for 25 percent of our nation’s innovators, and we are ready to support them and their businesses.”

Small firms employ 41 percent of the nation’s high-tech workers and generate 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large firms. The SBIR program alone has generated more than 84,000 patents and millions of jobs. Eleven federal agencies participate in the SBIR program – including the Department of Defense and National Science Foundation – allocating 2.5 percent of their extramural research and development dollars for the program.